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RebootedCorpse
04-20-2007, 04:38 AM
Get out.

News Analysis
On a Very Hot Seat With Little Cover and Less Support

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: April 20, 2007
WASHINGTON, April 19 — It did not bode well for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales when, before he uttered his first word to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, looked at him as if he were headed to the gallows and offered this advice: “Be alert and direct and honest with this committee. Give it your best shot.”

Things only went downhill from there for the attorney general, as the people he desperately needed to come to his rescue — fellow Republicans — proceeded one by one to throw him overboard.

Not a single Republican, with the possible exception of Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, came to Mr. Gonzales’s defense — not even his old Texas friend Senator John Cornyn. And Mr. Gonzales did not help himself with his testimony that while he took full responsibility for removing federal prosecutors, he did not have a clear idea of why he had done so in some cases until he reviewed paperwork after the dismissals.

It was no surprise that the Democrats on the panel skewered Mr. Gonzales. But it was also apparent that even Republicans had serious doubts about his fitness for the job.

“I don’t believe that you’re involved in a conspiracy to fire somebody because they wouldn’t prosecute a particular enemy of a politician or a friend of a politician,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “But at the end of the day, you said something that struck me: that sometimes it just came down to these were not the right people at the right time. If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?”

It was a devastating question — one reflecting pent-up Republican anger not only at the attorney general, but at President Bush as well.

Republicans have clashed openly with Mr. Gonzales on matters like wiretapping without warrants and elements of the USA Patriot Act. Now, feeling saddled by the war in Iraq and still blaming Mr. Bush for their loss of control of Congress last year, they have little desire to defend the administration on a matter rooted in questions of competence and the politicization of law enforcement. With Democrats and a handful of Republicans already calling for Mr. Gonzales’s head, the White House — which has publicly stood by him — is waiting to see if more Republicans will defect.

On Thursday, one did: Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who told Mr. Gonzales pointedly that he should resign. “I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered,” the senator said, referring to the United States attorneys who had been forced out. Mr. Coburn added that he believed “the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.”

The sense that Mr. Gonzales had failed to convince even members of his own party that he deserved to keep his job extended beyond the hearing room. By noon, Byron York, a correspondent for the conservative National Review, had written in an online analysis that it had been “a disastrous morning” for Mr. Gonzales. Republicans were wondering aloud how long the attorney general could last.

“It sounds like he walked into a firing squad without a gun,” said Charlie Black, a strategist close to the White House, after discussing the testimony with several other Republicans. Of the Republican senators, Mr. Black said, “They just think this was amateur hour, and they should not be expected to defend it.”

Republicans may also be revolting against what they view as Mr. Bush’s practice of installing loyalists at the Justice Department. The president and the attorney general are longtime friends, and the question of whether prosecutors were dismissed for not being “loyal Bushies,” in the words of D. Kyle Sampson, Mr. Gonzales’s former chief of staff, has loomed large over the inquiry.

Some Republicans made their disdain for Mr. Gonzales clear by their questions. Just 15 minutes after the attorney general began testifying, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the panel, remarked wryly that Mr. Gonzales had prepared extensively for the appearance. “I prepare for every hearing, senator,” Mr. Gonzales replied.

Mr. Specter seemed to view it as a smart-aleck retort, and the exchange that followed ended poorly for the attorney general. “Let’s move on,” Mr. Specter said sharply. “I don’t think you’re going to win a debate about your preparation, frankly.”

Democrats seemed gleeful as they watched Republicans go after one of their own, even as their central assertion — that the White House had let politics interfere with law enforcement — was subsumed by questions about Mr. Gonzales’s job performance. Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who has been spearheading the inquiry, did not seem to mind.

“I think anyone who’s watched this would say we could do better for attorney general,” Mr. Schumer said during a break. “He seems to be far less qualified than the U.S. attorneys that he’s fired.”

The question now, of course, is what Mr. Bush will do. Congress has no power to remove the attorney general, and the president has repeatedly stood by his old friend. The White House did so again on Thursday, though officials were clearly uneasy with the Republicans’ criticisms.

“Senators have been frustrated with the admitted communications problems since this began, and I think this has been their opportunity to express that frustration,” said Tony Fratto, a spokesman for Mr. Bush, who was in Ohio Thursday. “That’s perfectly natural, but it doesn’t change the facts, and the facts are that there was a process here, and the ultimate decisions were the correct decisions.”

Mr. Bush has said Mr. Gonzales has “work to do” in repairing his fractured relations with lawmakers. Clearly, by the end of the day that was still the case. Mr. Sessions, who said he believed the attorney general was “a good man,” was asked during a break if there was anything Mr. Gonzales could do at this point to improve his standing on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Sessions shook his head sadly. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”

BrianS
04-20-2007, 05:31 AM
Yeah, its time for him to go...

Bill Nolan
04-20-2007, 05:37 AM
He should stick around, just to keep pissing everyone off. Ride it out for the remaining months of the administration. Not like it's going to affect Bush or Cheney's re-election chances...

evilgenius
04-20-2007, 05:39 AM
So this was it then... firing of attorneys, not any of the other stuff? Sounds sort of... weak. Not as Evil as we'd like, mayhap. :)

xyzzy
04-20-2007, 05:45 AM
He should stick around, just to keep pissing everyone off. Ride it out for the remaining months of the administration. Not like it's going to affect Bush or Cheney's re-election chances...

I think that all of this attention hurts the Republican party as a whole, though. That's one of the reasons that so many are turning on him.

Artie Pink
04-20-2007, 05:47 AM
So this was it then... firing of attorneys, not any of the other stuff? Sounds sort of... weak. Not as Evil as we'd like, mayhap. :)


Well, if you can't nail Capone for murder, you get him for tax evasion.

Just so long as he's gone.

Bill Nolan
04-20-2007, 05:49 AM
I think that all of this attention hurts the Republican party as a whole, though. That's one of the reasons that so many are turning on him.

I really still don't think the average voter cares one wit about this non-issue. And I really don't think Bush or Cheney care about the Republican Party's chances in 2008, either.

xyzzy
04-20-2007, 05:52 AM
I really still don't think the average voter cares one wit about this non-issue. And I really don't think Bush or Cheney care about the Republican Party's chances in 2008, either.

I'll agree with the latter. The former, sorta. While I would agree that most voters don't really care too much about this specific issue, they are building an impression of this administration and, by extension, the Republican party of corruption and deceit. The sooner they can get this out of the news, the better. If he resigns, it's over. If he stays, it'll be around until the end of the administration.

Bill!
04-20-2007, 05:55 AM
I really still don't think the average voter cares one wit about this non-issue. And I really don't think Bush or Cheney care about the Republican Party's chances in 2008, either.

I don't know whats more sad, that voters might not care, or that some people think its a non-issue. Having a complete incompetent clown as your Attorney General is a bad thing for America, under any administration.

Ray G.
04-20-2007, 01:27 PM
He's not going anywhere until they can actually pin something illegal on him. If the Democrats get one Bush man out of office just for incompetence, do you think they'll stop there?

Thudpucker
04-20-2007, 01:32 PM
I don't see how it would benifit our Country for Gonzales to step down. He is just a lap dog, nothing he did was because of his own wishes. He has no importance.

glk
04-20-2007, 01:59 PM
Yeah, its time for him to go...

It's time for Bush and all his fucking cronies to go.

sonnylarue
04-20-2007, 02:16 PM
I don't see how it would benifit our Country for Gonzales to step down. He is just a lap dog, nothing he did was because of his own wishes. He has no importance.

true but just like Scooter Libby, these guys are caught lying about the laws they bend, and need to suffer their bad choices.

also Gonzales has been part of a lot of rule bending on the Bushies behalf, from redefining what the current adm sees as torture, to his delfiance of senate hearing in terms of full disclsure of events on the wiretapping.

this guy is more about protecting his president,, than the citizens of this country.

even Janet Reno would make moves against clinton, because they served the peoples wishes.

sonnylarue
04-20-2007, 02:21 PM
He's not going anywhere until they can actually pin something illegal on him. If the Democrats get one Bush man out of office just for incompetence, do you think they'll stop there?

excuse me, but failure to execute such a job compitently SHOULD be grounds for dismissal, especially when the incompitence shows a clear abuse of power that the AG is trying to hide by saying "he can't remember"

he's lying , everyone knows it.

Jamie Howdeshell
04-20-2007, 04:42 PM
excuse me, but failure to execute such a job compitently SHOULD be grounds for dismissal, especially when the incompitence shows a clear abuse of power that the AG is trying to hide by saying "he can't remember"

he's lying , everyone knows it.

you're not getting it, sonny. ray's standard is for people to not break the law. he apparently doesn't care about competence or ethical considerations.

:mistrust:

Joe Henderson
04-20-2007, 04:51 PM
I don't see how it would benifit our Country for Gonzales to step down. He is just a lap dog, nothing he did was because of his own wishes. He has no importance.

Incompetence is reason enough, and people who thinks he has no importance don't realize how deep that position is involved in decision-making (or not, apparently, depending on which day you ask him :) )

Just as importantly, though, this is the same guy who said that even though the Constitution said that the right of Habeus Corpus can't be taken away, it doesn't explicitly state that everyone actually HAS the right to Habeus Corpus. Which is just a mindblowingly, terribly frightening thing for a person in that position to say. He needs to go.

xyzzy
04-20-2007, 05:04 PM
He's not going anywhere until they can actually pin something illegal on him. If the Democrats get one Bush man out of office just for incompetence, do you think they'll stop there?

You don't think he's a drag on the Republican party right now?

Basketball Jesus
04-20-2007, 05:08 PM
He's not going anywhere until they can actually pin something illegal on him. If the Democrats get one Bush man out of office just for incompetence, do you think they'll stop there?

That's a fair point. Bounce every Bush incompetent Bush appointee and who's left to run the government?

Taxman
04-20-2007, 05:16 PM
He's not going anywhere until they can actually pin something illegal on him. Yeah, to hell with honesty or ethics!